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Speech by CE at Art Basel Hong Kong opening ceremony

Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Art Basel Hong Kong opening ceremony today (March 27):

Elisabeth (President of the Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Ms Elisabeth Ackermann), Marc (Global Director of Art Basel, Mr Marc Spiegler), distinguished guests, media, ladies and gentlemen,

It really gives me great pleasure to come to Art Basel 2018. I'm no stranger to Art Basel. It is four years ago at the second edition of Art Basel I was standing here to witness the opening of this world's premier contemporary art fair in my then capacity as the Chief Secretary for Administration. I still remember, on that particular occasion four years ago, I said that Art Basel will certainly become a very significant event in Hong Kong's cultural landscape, and it turns out to be even better than I could have imagined.

In the last four or five years, Art Basel has really helped us to build Hong Kong into a cultural hub, bringing a lot of world-class arts exhibitions and galleries, and what is most exciting is audience building. Last year, I saw queues of people, members of the community, queuing up to come into Art Basel to have this feeling of the arts appreciation. So thank you very much, Marc, for bringing us this Art Basel. I was actually in Basel two months ago and had this wonderful meeting with Elisabeth and Marc at the beautiful City Hall of Basel. So this closer relationship between Hong Kong and Basel is something that I find very gratifying.

These days, whenever I go out to promote Hong Kong, I usually end my speech with a tagline, and that is "The best of Hong Kong is yet to come". It certainly is true for the arts and culture scene in Hong Kong, because we are now seeing our West Kowloon Cultural District starting to have its physical presence and in due course Hong Kong will bring in two wonderful museums. One is the contemporary art M+, 66,000 square metres. The other is a latecomer - it's the 30,000-square-metre Hong Kong Palace Museum. And we're also expanding the Hong Kong arts museum by almost 40 per cent in a couple of years' time. So the future looks extremely promising for arts and cultural development in Hong Kong, and I welcome more of the arts people to come to enjoy and share our excitement.

Thank you very much.


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